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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

About This Lesson

This lesson is based on National Register of Historic Places registration files for Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (with photographs) in Florida, and for properties located at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Texas.¹ It also uses materials prepared by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The lesson was written by Rita G. Koman, an education consultant. It was edited by Fay Metcalf, Marilyn Harper, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.

¹The individual National Register registration forms include:

Kennedy Space Center: "Vehicle Assembly Building," "Launch Control Center," "Headquarters Building," "Operations and Checkout," "Central Instrumentation Facility," "Crawlerway," "Press Site Clock and Flag Pole," "Missile Crawler Transporter Facilities (Crawlers)," and "Launch Complex 39, Pads A and B."

Marshall Space Flight Center: "Redstone Test Stand," "Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand," "Propulsion and Structural Test Facility," "Neutral Buoyancy Space Simulator," and "Saturn V Space Vehicle."

Johnson Space Center: "Space Environment Simulation Laboratory," and "Apollo Mission Control Center."

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson can be used in American history, social studies, and geography courses in units on the space program, the Cold War and its effects on American society, or interdisciplinary units on science and technology.
Time period: 1960s
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To identify the events that led to the U.S. decision to send a man to the Moon.
2) To examine some of the work necessary to make the Apollo project possible.
3) To describe how widely separated space centers cooperated on the Apollo project.
4) To evaluate arguments for preserving historic sites relating to the space program.
5) To discuss comparable debates about preserving places in their own communities that are associated with recent history.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps showing locations important to the U.S. space program;
2) three readings about the Apollo project and its impact;
3) one illustration showing the Mission Control Center in Houston.
4) five photographs of the Apollo project and the first manned landing on the Moon.

Visiting the site
John F. Kennedy Space Center
This space center is located east of Orlando in central Florida. From Orlando International Airport, it can be reached by taking State Route 528 (Kennedy Space Center Highway) east and following the signs. Follow State Route 407 until it dead-ends into State Route 405 and turn right. Continue following the signs. From Interstate 95, take exit number 212, if heading north, and exit number 215, if heading south.

George C. Marshall Space Flight Center
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, is the Marshall Space Flight Center's official visitor center. It is located near the junction of Interstate 565 and Research Boulevard. Take the Sparkman Drive exit and follow the signs. A bus tour of the Space Flight Center is included in the admission fee for the Space and Rocket Center.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
This space center is adjacent to Clear Lake at 2101 NASA Road 1, about 20 miles southeast of downtown Houston via Interstate 45.

Much of the hardware of the "space race" is displayed at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville; the Kennedy Space Center; and the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.



Comments or Questions

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